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When Hector Fernandez was named president of the Americas division of Aristocrat Technologies, the company had experienced a long line of successful products. As the company moved into its new Las Vegas headquarters Fernandez was charged with keeping up the momentum. And when the pandemic hit, Fernandez doubled down on game development by keeping h…
 
When Erika Nardini joined Barstool Sports in 2016, it was a small blog attracting a few fans in New England. Fast forward several years and fueled by the irreverent blogger David Portnoy, Barstool Sports became a phenomenon with millions of followers and fans across the country. When PASPA was eliminated in 2018, it was the opening Barstool Sports …
 
Eileen Moore Johnson has already has a full career in many roles for operator Caesars Entertainment, including leading several properties on the east side of the Las Vegas Strip during many changes and developments there. Now as chief human resources officer for Scientific Games, she has transitioned to the supply side of the business. Moore Johnso…
 
Before becoming a casino owner, Derek Stevens used to fly from his hometown of Detroit to Las Vegas to bet on sports and make a weekend of it. So it’s not surprising that the first casino he’s built from scratch has an emphasis on sports betting. Circa has been open for three months now (the hotel rooms open this week), and Stevens talks about how …
 
Global Gaming Women was founded under the auspices of the American Gaming Association more than 10 years ago with a goal for female gaming professionals to learn from one another, create lasting connections and nurture emerging women leaders. In 2016, Global Gaming Women became an independent charitable organization and upped its game on its servic…
 
Back in March when the pandemic began, Tom Cantone remembers sitting in his darkened offices in the Mohegan Sun Arena grasping for ways to bring back the jobs that were on hold. One call to Viacom produced a “residency” for their MMA and boxing shows. That set the stage for “Bubbleville,” a plan to host four pre-season basketball tournaments usuall…
 
MGM Resorts International has changed quite a bit over the past few years. When the company instituted its MGM 2020 program that was aimed at reducing costs, creating efficiencies and streamlining the corporate structure, there was no vision of the pandemic. But when it hit in March of last year, MGM 2020 had the company prepared for the worst. But…
 
The technology developed to run cashless transactions has improved markedly over the past 10 years. Sightline has been at the forefront of that development and its new CEO, Joe Pappano has spent his entire career preparing for this moment. With 29 years in the business, Pappano changed jobs recently when Sightline reorganized its executive structur…
 
Lifescapes International is a legendary company in gaming. When the Mirage was being designed, Steve Wynn turned to Lifescapes founder Don Brinkerhoff to design and build the famous volcano that attracted millions of visitors each year. Through the years, Lifescapes has been the go-to company when casinos consider their landscape architecture. Andy…
 
Ainsworth Game Technology has had a rather tumultuous couple of years. In 2018, founder Len Ainsworth sold the majority of the company to Novomatic, but that company has remained a passive partner except for a few cooperative ventures. Deron Hunsberger joined Ainsworth in 2017 as senior vice president of sales and marketing with a 25 year track rec…
 
Jorge Perez has been with MGM Resorts for 25 years in a variety of positions, most recently president of the company’s regional resorts, a title he still holds in addition to being president and COO of MGM National Harbor. Perez joined National Harbor after a reorganization of corporate leadership in May 2020. He explains what it means to lead one …
 
SOSH Architects is a partnership of four very talented individuals that started in Atlantic City around the time casinos were legalized. Therefore SOSH has become one of the go-to firms when casinos are looking for unique design for new properties or innovative ideas for expansions and renovations. Tom Sykes and Bill Salerno have been there for the…
 
In the four years since Lorne Weil became chairman and Brooks Pierce was appointed president and chief operating officer, Inspired Entertainment has become a bigger player in the gaming industry. The company’s diversified product offering has played well during these uncertain times, and the recent growth of distributed gaming in the U.S. has posit…
 
Paul Steelman has been involved as an architect in many of the iconic properties in gaming. From the Mirage to Resorts World Las Vegas to many of the most impressive Asian properties, Steelman’s expertise and gaming knowledge is unmatched in the casino design world. For his latest project, Downtown Las Vegas’ Circa Casino Resort, he teamed with own…
 
Derek Stevens came to Las Vegas from Detroit in 2006, when he and his brother purchased the Golden Gate Hotel, the oldest operating casino in Las Vegas. He later bought the D (the former Fitzgerald’s) and created the Downtown Las Vegas Events Center. Last month, he opened Circa Resort & Casino at the foot of Fremont Street, a new concept that relie…
 
Dave Peña came up with the concept for Boogie Nights when he realized there was no place for people who enjoyed the ‘80s culture in the nightclub scene. When he introduced the concept at Resorts Atlantic City years ago, it was an immediate success and he’s expanded his empire to many gaming jurisdictions. And now, he’s starting another venture alon…
 
While FSB is somewhat late to the party for U.S. sports betting, CEO Dave McDowell says the wait will be worth it. FSB has developed some of the most cutting-edge sports betting technology, which will vault online sportsbooks clients years ahead of their competitors. Founded in 2007, FSB has innovative platform and CRM systems, as well as expertise…
 
The GGB Podcast features a discussion with Bo Bernhard, the executive director of UNLV’s International Gaming Institute, on the 2020 edition of the Executive Development Program, a long-running educational effort created by the late Bill Eadington, who was essentially the founder of high-level gaming education. Podcast sponsored by FSBtech.com…
 
Tom Reeg is a dealmaker. He landed in the right place in the 1990s when he got involved with a small family owned company called Eldorado Resorts. Reeg helped the Carano family guide the company outside of its native Reno, Nevada on a journey that saw it buy several smaller regional gaming companies, MTR Gaming, Isle of Capri and Tropicana Entertai…
 
Marty Small has been mayor of Atlantic City for almost one year, when he was selected by city council to fill the vacancy created when the previous mayor, Frank Gilliam resigned after being convicted of corruption while in office. Small won the Democrat nomination for mayor in the primary and now faces a nominal Republican opponent in November’s ge…
 
Sally Gainsbury is one of the world’s foremost researchers into problem gambling, so it’s no surprise that one of the first studies on the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic came out of her group at the University of Sydney. With no funding, Gainsbury, co-investigator Alex Blaszczynski and a team of researchers were able to gather nearly 800 gamblers …
 
It was the biggest, and maybe most improbable, deal in the history of the gaming industry. When Eldorado Resorts announced its intention to purchase Caesars Entertainment, it was like a minnow swallowing a whale. Probably the most recognizable brand in the gaming industry, Caesars was worth multiples more than any company Eldorado had previously bo…
 
Reno, Nevada has a strong locals market that fuels many of the major casinos there. While Grand Sierra Resort, the former Reno Hilton, does well in that market, it is one of the few that also caters to travelers and destination resort visitors. With a plethora of attractions, the Grand Sierra is well positioned for a quick recovery from the Covid 1…
 
The March shutdown of the Atlantic City casinos during the Covid 19 emergency was only supposed to last two weeks, but three months later the casinos were still waiting for the OK to reopen from New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy. When that approval was given, some of it was quickly snatched back when Murphy decided that indoor dining was not included…
 
If there’s anyone with a finger on the pulse of Las Vegas, it’s Nehme Abouzied who came to the town nearly 20 years ago and has held executive positions with Las Vegas Sands, Wynn Resorts and the Vegas Golden Knights of the NHL. Several years ago, he formed LaunchVegas to help companies looking at the coming boom in town to get acclimated and hit t…
 
When the Covid 19 lockdown began in March, Steve Callender had oversight of just one Atlantic City property, the Tropicana. When it was over in July he had added three others—Caesars, Harrah’s and Bally’s—as a result of the closing of the purchase of Caesars Entertainment by Eldorado. Callender, a longtime Atlantic City executive, explains how he n…
 
The Borgata has been Atlantic City’s 800 pound gorilla for years. It consistently records at least double the gross gaming revenue than it’s nearest competitor. Melonie Johnson has only been in charge since late May, but it didn’t take her long to get up to speed and recognize what needed to be done to provide Borgata’s special customers with the l…
 
Earlier this year, as virtually the entire gaming industry shut down amid the Covid-19 pandemic, one of the very few operators that remained in growth mode was the Cordish Companies. Despite a few Covid-related interruptions, Baltimore-based Cordish managed to keep construction going on two major projects that will open within the next year. Throug…
 
When it comes to casino design, Brett Ewing has seen it all. From the themed casinos of the 1990s to boutique hotels and ever-changing trends, he has been on top of them all. But then when Covid 19 forced the casinos to close, he opened his mind and has assisted clients in re-thinking the very operations of their casino resorts. Although more dista…
 
It was almost four months that Atlantic City casinos closed their doors, enduring the effects of the Covid-19 pandemic. When they reopened in early July, there were strict guidelines on what they could and could not offer—inside dining being the most crucial. Terry Glebocki had only been CEO of Ocean Casino Resort since late last year when the shut…
 
In 2018, when Joe Lupo took over as president of Hard Rock Atlantic City, he had just finished a stint in the same position at Hard Rock Tampa, one of the most successful casinos in the U.S. Due to his many years as an executive at Atlantic City’s Borgata, Lupo was able to grow revenues, increase loyalty and capitalize on a market he knows like the…
 
The GGB Podcast assembles the team behind Marker Trax, a groundbreaking credit app that allow customers to access a pre-approved credit line at a slot machine or table game in seconds. Joining the discussion are: Gary Ellis, the owner, Ellis Island Casino, Hotel & Brewery, Charlie Skinner, the COO of Marker Trax and Tom Jingoli, executive vice pres…
 
The pandemic claimed another important conference early in July with the International Center for Responsible Gaming announced that the 21st Conference on Gambling and Addiction would go online. ICRG Chairman Alan Feldman and Executive Director Chris Reilly explain the reasons for that decision. Podcast sponsored by FSBtech.com…
 
James Maida is a legend in the casino business. As a lawyer in the New Jersey regulatory system, he quickly saw that his agency was getting overwhelmed with requests to test slot machine systems, and began to do it himself out of his spare bedroom in his apartment. Today, GLI has grown into an international company serving the needs of the gaming i…
 
As a prime catalyst behind the growth of AGS as senior vice president of slot products, it wasn’t surprising to see Andrew Burke named chief executive officer at Quebec-based Bluberi in January. Bluberi has been bought by the Catalyst Capital Group private equity firm, and is eyeing a significant move as a game manufacturer and system provider. Bur…
 
Twin River Management Group got its start in a little casino in Rhode Island and today is growing into one of the largest regional operators in gaming. The recent purchase of Caesars Entertainment by Eldorado Resorts was something of a catalyst for the growth of the company. Twin River was able to buy several properties in different areas of the co…
 
With every other slot machine turned off, three seats maximum at blackjack tables, similar limitations at other table games, no buffet, temperature checks and dozens of other changes large and small, casinos that have reopened following the Covid-19 lockdown look and feel different. Mike Larson has visited dozens of these reopened casinos, mostly c…
 
Rick Arpin knows what he’s talking about. After 16 years with MGM Resorts, followed by a stint with payment processor NRT Technologies, Arpin has the experience needed to direct his KPMG clients in the right direction. Arpin believes the coronavirus recovery will be very nuanced and dependent on individual markets. In Las Vegas, Arpin says the reco…
 
One of the side effects of Covid-19 is a rush toward contactless payments throughout society to avoid handling currency. But with casinos still lagging behind in the area of cashless transactions, Mike Rumbolz says the time is right to begin the transformation. Everi has developed a series of technological advances, starting with QuikTicket, which …
 
While credit goes to New Jersey politicians Ray Lesniak and Chris Christie for pushing the landmark Supreme Court decision that overturned the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act (PASPA), part of the credit must go to Sara Slane, then vice president of the American Gaming Association, who led the organization’s efforts to support the law…
 
The world of casino design has changed since the onset of Covid-19. Nick Schoenfeldt, a partner with Thalden Boyd Emery Architects, joined GGB from the Fort McDowell casino in Arizona, which is making last minute changes to an expansion designed by TBE as a direct result of the Covid-19 stipulations. Those changes include removing a new poker room,…
 
Some of the big gaming companies have borrowed hundreds of thousands of dollars to increase their liquidity to give them time and capital to overcome the Covid-19 shutdowns. Matt Sodl, the managing director of Innovation Capital, explains that money is available to casinos of all sizes, tribal or commercial, to help get them through this period of …
 
When Virginia legalized casinos in five economically disadvantaged locations last year, Danville was the only city that went through a request for proposal (RFP) process to find a developer for a casino in that town. The city hired Convergence Strategy Group and principals Scott Fisher and Suzanne Leckert, to handle the process, which just ended wi…
 
With many of the large and small Southern California casinos opening within the last two weeks, the same can’t be said for casinos in Northern California, give or take a few. At the Sherwood Valley Casino, General Manager Michael Broderick says the tribe has taken extra care in preparing for reopening. The tribe plans to test every employee for Cov…
 
Just last week, Nevada posted the highest unemployment rate in the United States for any state ever. That stat tells you all you need to know about how the Covid-19 lockdown has affected Nevada and its tourism industry. More than a quarter of Nevada’s workforce is employed, more than the U.S. average during the Great Depression. Just three months a…
 
As casinos begin to reopen following at least two months of closures due to Covid-19, how are they going to bring back their loyal customers and what messages will resonate. Josh Swissman, a former corporate marketing executives with MGM Resorts, Station Casinos and other companies, and now a partner with the Strategy Organization, says campaigns a…
 
They say cash is king but the actual bills that make up real cash are more germ spreaders than money royalty. Omer Sattar and his payment processing company Sightline have developed procedures over the past several years to migrate cash money to and from the casino floor via electronic financial transfers. This process will eliminate the nasty cash…
 
The coronavirus pandemic has certainly been unprecedented in many ways—socially, economically, and legally. Tony Cabot is one of the deans of the gaming law field, having been active through many various developments in the discipline down through the years. Now, as a distinguished fellow of gaming law at the Boyd Law School at the University of Ne…
 
On April 29, Nevada Governor Steve Sisolak extended the state’s stay-at-home order until May 15. At the same time, he gave responsibility for reopening Nevada casinos to the Gaming Control Board and Chairwoman Sandra Douglass Morgan, while warning that casinos would not reopen until Phase 3 or Phase 4 of the state’s recovery plan. (Phase 1 began Ma…
 
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